Ian McShane talks Pirates 4

Pirates franchise newbie Ian McShane has spoken exclusively to Total Film about his character, Blackbeard.

The dastardly villain will be causing problems for Jack Sparrow in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides , and we took the opportunity to grill him about the hirsute buccaneer.

When we asked McShane what would differentiate his character from all the other fearsome pirates, he told us: “Blackbeard’s the most infamous pirate that ever lived. He was feared by everybody.

"Probably because he never killed anybody, he just looked so fearsome. He’d light torches in his beard so he could impress everybody, or so the legend goes.”

Was it daunting joining a franchise that’s already three films old? “It’s really only Johnny, Geoffrey and Kevin from the other ones – Penelope and I are the two new additions, and there’s a new director, Rob Marshall, who brings a different eye, which I think helps.

"It’s not going to be exactly the same as the last three shows. So it was a pleasure to shoot it. I was only glad it finished so I could get rid of the beard!”

That wasn't fun then? “It was the heaviest thing – it was like having a dead cat around my face! It was made in three or four pieces and held on by magnets and God knows what else. It took an hour and a half to put on every day.

"It was sort of spectacular. And combined with Penny Rose’s great costume, he was a real biker pirate – it’s all black leather.”

So, the locales must have been a bit more exotic than they were in the Lovejoy days? “Oh I don’t know, the locations were pretty great on Lovejoy , out in Big Sky Country in Suffolk...

"Sure you can’t compare that to Pirates with Hawaii and LA, but we spent plenty of time at Pinewood – a film studio posing as an industrial estate. But the crew and cast were great so we had a great time.”

Does he enjoy playing in fantasy and genre films like these? “Well, when I finished doing Deadwood , I did every genre in a row. I did a comedy with Hot Rod , a horror with Case 39 , an action movie with Death Race and a few animated voiceovers.

"So I guess now with Pirates and my new film, Jack the Giant Killer , I’ll have to do something serious next time. It’s actually been nice, the last couple of years, to be able to do films that I can show to the grandchildren.”

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opens on 18 May 2011.

For more on Pirates 4 , get the new issue of Total Film Magazine, which hits newsstands on Thursday April 14th.

To subscribe to Total Film Magazine, click here .


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